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Will welcome Congress’ Narayan Rane if he joins BJP, says Maharashtra revenue minister

Patil, considered to be ‘the number two’ in the Fadnavis government, said the decision would have to be taken by Rane and BJP chief Amit Shah

mumbai Updated: Aug 21, 2017 09:26 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,Congress
Maharashtra revenue minister Chandrakant Patil.(HT FILE)

Revenue minister Chandrakant Patil on Sunday said senior Congress leader Narayan Rane would be welcomed when he joins the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Patil, considered to be ‘the number two’ in the Fadnavis government, said the decision would have to be taken by Rane and BJP chief Amit Shah. He also added that Rane shifting loyalty to the BJP will be beneficial for the party and the state government to run the administration smoothly, hinting at the lack of experience in the Fadnavis-led government.

“If an experienced leader like Rane, who has efficiently worked as the chief minister of the state, joins BJP we will welcome him. However, the decision has to be taken by him and BJP chief Amit Shah,” Patil said at Sindhudurg. “BJP will benefit from Rane’s entry. He will also help us smoothly run the state administration.”

For more than four months now, speculations have been rife that the former chief minister is planning to leave Congress after his demand of being appointed as the Maharashtra Congress president was not granted by the party high-command. With Shah visiting Mumbai this week, there was a speculation that official announcement of Rane’s induction may happen this week. There is a buzz in political circles that Shah may inaugurate a medical college built by Rane’s institution at Sindhudurg district during this visit.

Patil’s statement gains importance since he is considered to be close to Shah.

There are also rumors that Rane wants the PWD portfolio, which is currently with Patil. About this, Patil said he is ready to give his portfolio if the party leadership asks him to.

Dropping another hint of a possible change of allegiance, Rane’s son and Congress MLA Nitesh on Saturday changed his WhatsApp status to “Narayan Rane is the only party for us”.

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 09:26 IST